Messi reiterates desire to finish career in Argentina

Lionel Messi has reiterated his desire to one day return to Argentina to finish his playing career, further diminishing the prospect of fans ever seeing him play in the Premier League.

Messi, 28, has been at current club Barcelona ever since moving to Spain before he was even a teenager – going on to win almost every individual accolade and team trophy possible as he has established himself as the best player in the world.

Recent speculation has once again tipped the forward with a move to the Premier League, perhaps to join up with former manager Pep Guardiola at Manchester City, but the man himself has now suggested that such a move is unlikely.

Messi has previously spoken about his desire to one day return to Argentina to see out his playing days – perhaps with Newell’s Old Boys, the club he was attached to before Barcelona came calling – and it seems that remains his ambition, even if a retirement plan is still a long way from his mind.

“It’s something that I would still like to do. I don’t know when, but it’s a possibility,” Messi told Argentinian magazine El Grafico.

“I haven’t set myself any goals, short or long term, but I’d like to keep playing whilst my body allows it and I have something to offer the team. When I know that it’s time, I’ll make a decision.”

Messi’s relationship with the country of his birth has occasionally been fraught, with some fans of the national team left frustrated that the five-time Ballon d’Or winner has not been able to replicate his club form for his country and help deliver them a major trophy.

Messi admits he has been similarly frustrated by his inability to win silverware, with Argentina having lost in the final of both the 2014 World Cup and 2015 Copa America.

“I prefer to win something with the national team,” Messi said. “I am not interested in records. They are there, but that does not make you win titles.

“I get upset whenever we lose with Argentina because I know that we should have won. We did enough to win the World Cup and the Copa America.”

Messi was also asked once again about his relationship with Real Madrid’s Cristiano Ronaldo.

“We’re professionals who defend our teams,” he said. “We’re professional rivals and that’s the height of it, nothing more than that.

“Sometimes we win and sometimes we lose. There’s always been great respect.”

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